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Phil Stooke
Doug just said in another thread that he was looking for Phoenix in the new images and couldn't find it. Well, I love a challenge. So here it is:

Close-up:

(REMOVED - SEE LATER POST)

Context:

(REMOVED - SEE LATER POST)

Note that map-projected HiRISE images at this latitude are in polar stereographic projection, not a cylindrical projection. North is at the left.

You might not believe this, but by blinking layers like Clyde Tombaugh I think I can match numerous points, not just the hardware.

EDIT: I was a bit off. Correct locations are shown below.

Phil
djellison
I had a go blinking layers, but didn't have any luck - good job on that one. It'll be interesting to see if there were any more pre-safe-mode images. Otherwise we might be in for a bit of a wait for new ones.
Sunspot
WOW those images are so grainy. blink.gif
Phil Stooke
Yes, low light levels and hazy atmosphere made them very low contrast except for ice patches. Later images will be a lot better.

Phil
ilbasso
Looks good to me. I can see some of the same crack patterns in both photos.
centsworth_II
If a meter or two of frozen CO2 formed, I'm surprised that it would have disappeared already.
Phil Stooke
(Sorry Doug - I just noticed this thread should have gone in the Phoenix section... move it if you like)

Phil
elakdawalla
I moved it. Well spotted, Phil! I wondered when somebody was going to give that challenge a try. I'll admit I gave up pretty quickly smile.gif

--Emily
Phil Stooke
Well spotted indeed! Good job indeed! Turns out I was wrong! After a more careful look I discovered the correct location nearby. To avoid duplication I'm posting the new images here, and I'm going to edit out the other images. When the two sides of this comparison are blinked a thousand features match up, not just a dozen. This is a lesson to people searching for Mars Polar lander - it's easy to be fooled! I was in too much of a hurry last time... The parachute and backshell are invisible, the heatshield almost so, but the lander's clear.

Phil

Context:
Click to view attachment

comparison:
Click to view attachment

Close-up of the lander:
Click to view attachment
Phil Stooke
Incidentally, I think, from the blinking approach, that the new images are not at all grainy (as suggested above) - the grain is in the landscape.

Phil
elakdawalla
Thanks for the correction. I was desperately trying to get those images to line up and on the point of banging my head against my newly repaired computer monitor.

Now I have to go see if I can get this version to line up wink.gif

QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Oct 27 2009, 05:41 PM) *
Close-up of the lander:

If I squint and do a couple of incantations, I think I can see the solar panels. Would it make sense for them to be bright against darker ground? Would they be frostier or dustier or something?
ElkGroveDan
What caused you to go back and reevaluate the location Phil?
Phil Stooke
Emily!

Phil
Hungry4info
If the slightly darker region in the snow to the bottom-left of the lander is Phoenix's shadow, then I can't see any evidence of solar panels in that shadow.

Maybe Emily is indeed seeing the solar panels (I can sort of make them out), but they may not be attached to Phoenix anymore.
djellison
Via HiRISE on Twitter (always superbly informative, fun, and quick) that image was the last before the extended safe mode we're still in with MRO. So it'll be some time before we get a better 'springier' picture sadly.
Phil Stooke
Emily made a really nice animation - well, I should say blinking comparison, maybe - anyway a very nice comparison image of the site, on her blog. Thanks Emily!

Phil
centsworth_II
QUOTE (Hungry4info @ Oct 28 2009, 06:54 AM) *
If the slightly darker region in the snow to the bottom-left of the lander is Phoenix's shadow, then I can't see any evidence of solar panels in that shadow.

The level of CO2 'snow' may be up to the panels in which case they would not cast shadows even if still attached. Any shadow may be from structures on the deck higher than the panels.
Hungry4info
Interesting idea, though with only patchy snow covering, I wouldn't expect that the snow would be very high.
centsworth_II
QUOTE (Hungry4info @ Oct 30 2009, 01:58 AM) *
Interesting idea, though with only patchy snow covering, I wouldn't expect that the snow would be very high.

It looks like Phoenix is sitting in the middle of a patch. Maybe a drift?
sgendreau
QUOTE (centsworth_II @ Oct 30 2009, 09:23 AM) *
It looks like Phoenix is sitting in the middle of a patch. Maybe a drift?


Maybe the drift is accumulating against Phoenix, and in its shelter. I'm assuming the sublimation is wind-driven so open areas will clear first.

sgendreau the newbie
from Boston, lots of drifting there
Geert
The fact that the parachute and heatshield as yet seem to be completely hidden doesn't bode well for all attempts to find any sign from MPL, but it might well be just the poor light and we might see them again once the summer advances a bit further.

But if the polar frost is indeed able to hide the parachute under a layer of dust after one winter, then it might explain why no clear sign of MPL has as yet shown up.
djellison
A signal from MPL is a very very unlikely scenario.

A signal from PHX is just an unlikely scenario.

The last HiRISE image of PHX was not the height of summer so we don't know how visible the chute, backshell and heatshield will be after the ice has fully retreated.
Greg Hullender
QUOTE (djellison @ Oct 30 2009, 01:09 PM) *
A signal from MPL is a very very unlikely scenario.

I'm sure he meant Phoenix. I've made that mistake myself (in reading) three or four times now.

Although, of course, it *is* Halloween, so if things are going to rise from the dead, I suppose this is the time to do it!

--Greg
Geert
QUOTE (djellison @ Oct 31 2009, 05:09 AM) *
A signal from MPL is a very very unlikely scenario.


I didn't mean a (radio) signal, that would indeed be close to impossible. I meant chances of spotting any debris / wreckage from MPL.
As far as HiRise coverage of the MPL landing elips, these are all taken after at least one winter had passed, so if one winter is able to erase most of the traces of PHX then we can expect that the MPL parachute/backshell/heatshield will be equally difficult to spot (at least).

In order to make a convincing case of 'having found debris from MPL' you need to be able to show convincing signs not only of the lander-wreckage, but also of the heatshield, backshell, and parachutes (and all at correct distances from each other), otherwise you just don't have a case in my humble opinion. So the visibility of PHX hardware after one or two winters is a very good measure of what we can expect to see from any MPL debris on HiRise images.
djellison
QUOTE (Geert @ Oct 31 2009, 05:19 AM) *
so if one winter is able to erase most of the traces of PHX.


We don't know if it does or doesn't yet.
Adonis
MRO has almost a polar orbit. Thus, within the same approximate period of time, MRO is able to fly above, and spot, a given place in martian surface.

Phill got the Phoenix MRO images dated last July 30th and August 22th. This makes an approximate period of time of 23 days MRO should be able to fly above Phoenix landing site. Then, should I'm not wrong on this, next days counted in periods of 23 from August 22th were: September 12th and October 5th & 28th, in which theoretically MRO was able to spot Phoenix again..... except some of them it was night time when MRO was flying above Phoenix.

Then, żis it possible that some more recent MRO images of Phoenix landing site were still hidden inside the ammount of data sent by the orbiter? .... or I'm wrong in something I missed.

Thanks.
Greg Hullender
QUOTE (Adonis @ Oct 31 2009, 10:21 AM) *
.... or I'm wrong in something I missed.

MRO has been in Safe Mode since August 26, so it hasn't been taking many (any?) pictures.

http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/mro/newsro.../20090904a.html

--Greg
imipak
QUOTE (Adonis @ Oct 31 2009, 06:21 PM) *
...something I missed?


Sorry if I misunderstand, but if you're wondering why there are no images on those dates, it's because MRO is still in safe mode.

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00002181/

(Edit - sorry for the dupe.)
Adonis
QUOTE (Greg Hullender @ Oct 31 2009, 07:04 PM) *
MRO has been in Safe Mode since August 26, so it hasn't been taking many (any?) pictures.

http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/mro/newsro.../20090904a.html

--Greg



Thanks Greg.

But MRO web page have published HiRISE images taken in october 7th. So, if is still in safe mode, is capable of doing, at least, some (maybe selective) HiRISE images. And from that date (october 7th) MRO had some opportunities to image Phoenix landing site, which I understand is a science priority since we have there a known hardware to help us see the ammount of frozen ice laying there.
elakdawalla
"Safe mode" usually means no science, and as far as I understand things, no science has been done since August 26. If you're referring to that Hale crater image, it was October 7, 2007. The most recent Phoenix image was taken on August 22, 2009, before the safing event.

--Emily
Adonis
OK. I was wrong at all. Efectively, the image I mentioned was Hale crater, taken in 2007. One less science mystery for me rolleyes.gif and realized there's no recent HiRISE images sad.gif

Thanks Greg, imipak and Emily.
Hungry4info
Here's to wishing re-established contact with Phoenix.
I was bored...
marsophile
Upcoming colloquium talk at the SETI Institute:


02/24/2010
Latest results from the Mars Phoenix Lander Microscope

John Marshall, SETI Institute


Presumably, these are anticipated results after regaining contact! laugh.gif
climber
Did we see this one?: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0911/04phoenix/
djellison
I'm assuming it's the same image Phil used.
ugordan
QUOTE (djellison @ Nov 5 2009, 10:58 AM) *
I'm assuming it's the same image Phil used.

But now it's available in Technicolor™!
Phil Stooke
Yes, same one, and it was in Emily's animation.

Phil
ElkGroveDan
QUOTE
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has spotted the Phoenix lander encased in dry ice in the depths of winter on the northern polar plains of Mars

I don't know that I would call it "encased." That patchy setting looks a lot like my Phoenix Christmas card from last year (minus the firewood of course).
Phil Stooke
So there actually were two images, July and August - I didn't know that before. The frost patches differ a bit, but it would be possible to combine the two images for a 'super-resolution' or noise-reduced view.

Phil
fredk
Curious story from Sky and Telescope. First the writer states:
QUOTE
The view here gives the impression of frosty patches atop ice-free ground, but that's an artifact of contrast enhancement. In fact, the entire scene is covered with frozen carbon dioxide.

What makes him say that? Why would there be such well-defined brighter patches if the ground was completely covered? The brighter patches don't look like south-facing slopes illuminated by the low Sun - there aren't the corresponding darker areas that you'd expect for the north facing slopes. Besides, I read that the Sun was only at one degree elevation for these images. As we know, the direct, directional illumination from the Sun would be severely attenuated by atmospheric dust when the Sun is that low. Most of the illumination would be diffuse illumination from the sky, which shouldn't produce much contrast on slopes.

Could the CO2 be continuous, but dust is covering much of the CO2, with the bright areas free of dust?

The writer also states:
QUOTE
We'll probably never know how just how much CO2 snow accumulated atop the lander by September, when the coating was likely thickest

That surprized me a bit, since spring equinox was October 26th, and with Phoenix only a few degrees north of the arctic circle, it should've been getting quite a lot of sunlight by September. But still I could believe that the July and August images show essentially the maximum amount of CO2 coverage. So maybe that's what he bases his claim on that the coverage is complete in the images?
centsworth_II
QUOTE (fredk @ Nov 10 2009, 12:43 PM) *
....Most of the illumination would be diffuse illumination from the sky, which shouldn't produce much contrast on slopes.

Could the CO2 be continuous, but dust is covering much of the CO2, with the bright areas free of dust?...
It looks to me like the distinctive surface polygons are present in the dark areas but not visible in the bright areas. If the dark areas were a layer of CO2 covered by a layer of dust, they should be as smooth and featureless as the bright areas.

My question is, are the bright areas flat patches of frost or thicker drifts. If the light is entirely diffused, it may be impossible to tell anything by looking for shadows around the lander.
Deimos
The coldest temperatures occurred/ended at the very end of July, based on past years' TES data. Sublimation will not exceed deposition at the minimum, but rather some time later. The temperatures come up quickly (probably with a feedback involving loss of CO2 ice), so August or maybe September is reasonable. I was surprised too, so I checked. But I imagine no substantive difference from the last image to any other image until the ice starts substantially disappearing.

My impression is the images show icy areas and non-icy areas. But, that's an impression based on an imaged stretched in ways I don't know. It could as easily be thick ice with ice or frost thin enough that the underlying soil influences the albedo. It is, in any case, an albedo contrast. I say that, not because the Sun is so low, but because you can do photoclinometry on the image. The darker areas show their topography quite clearly--I can see features Phoenix saw more clearly than in the orbiter images during the mission (although not as well as the latest pre-dark images). In my opinion, you can even see shading/brightening at the margins of the bright patches. I suggest they are likely just thicker accumulations (ie, drifts). Further, it seems that troughs appear icier than ridges.

When the Sun is very low or below the horizon, diffuse light dominates completely. But twilight skies are not even close to perfectly diffuse, and most of the light comes from 10-20 deg elevation at the solar azimuth +- 20 degrees or so (depends on exact conditions). Some USGS people have done shape from shading on orbiter images of twilit areas, IIRC.
vikingmars
smile.gif For your perusal, here is an high resolution picture showing the Phoenix lander during winter, made from the sum-up of MRO's images ESP_014103_2485_RED.NOMAP.jp2 and ESP_014393_2485_RED.NOMAP.jp2 .
It seems that the lander has lost its "symmetrical" look... (a damaged/collapsed solar panel ?) and that this effect is real and not a processing artifact.
Click to view attachment
Tman
A high resolution comparison in addition would be nice now smile.gif
djellison
Super resolution isn't really going to work with two push broom images. You're likely introducing more artefacts than improvements. It looks less sharp and phoenix less obvious than the orig two images I'm afraid. So drawing any conclusion from it is unwise
vikingmars
QUOTE (djellison @ Nov 14 2009, 03:52 PM) *
Super resolution isn't really going to work with two push broom images. You're likely introducing more artefacts than improvements. It looks less sharp and phoenix less obvious than the orig two images I'm afraid. So drawing any conclusion from it is unwise


Yes Master !
kimmie
Not the original poster but thanks for the tip djellison. I was looking for more information on this.

Hungry4info
Quick question.

While I don't expect contact with Phoenix to be re-established, I'm curious as to how that would happen if it does. Is DSN time being used to ping Phoenix? Or will Phoenix just ping Earth whenever it wakes up? (If able to)
mcaplinger
QUOTE (Hungry4info @ Dec 13 2009, 07:40 PM) *
Is DSN time being used to ping Phoenix?

Phoenix has no direct-to-Earth link, so I presume that any listening to be done will have to be done by either Odyssey or MRO.
nprev
Hopefully not too far OT, but is that UHF protocol ("Electra"?) for Mars orbiter/lander comm going to be stable for the foreseeable future?

Sort of an interesting system engineering problem to make sure that future missions will be able to talk to long-lived legacy ground assets, yet still incorporate advancements/enhancements.
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